Saturday, December 15, 2007

Singing the praises of the employment developers

Earlier this week the Daily News provided a nice little tribute to the workings of the Career Resource Centre, proclaiming a “Wealth of vacancies offer cheer to season's jobless” were available at their Ocean Centre offices.

Perhaps feeling that they left out another organization from the glad tidings to you patrol, the Daily was quick to compose another glowing review two days later, for yet another employment service in the city, the Hecate Strait Employment Development Society on Second Avenue. It is an organization, described in a quote from the executive director, as an “economic generator of large proportions.”

We learned more about Hecate Strait in the Thursday Daily News, however an in depth exploration of the Society and its workings in the city this was not. According to the Daily News report, 37 businesses were started along the North Coast and Queen Charlottes in 2007, yet a walk down Third Avenue or any other shopping area of the city shows a huge expanse of empty store fronts.

So one wonders where all those businesses might be hiding? Not to mention all the businesses that went before them over the last ten years, it might be an interesting economic study to see how many are still working hard to make a buck around the city and how many have faded from our memories.

Of course the idea that there is a need for two services (three if you count Community Futures) to do the almost the exact same kind of job seems kind of unusual for a town this small, but when it comes to government funding, no program shall be left behind we guess.

One thing seems certain, there very well may be some job growth happening in town, but a lot of it seems to be centered in the actual offices of the numerous government sponsored employment development programs.

Society has big impact on region
Hecate Strait Employment Development Society celebrating its role
By Kris Schumacher
The Daily News
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Page one

At the heart of every community lies its residents, and the businesses that exist to serve them- a classic example being the Hecate Strait Employment Development Society.

Through partnership with other groups, agencies and service providers, Hecate Strait’s staff of 10 is able to bring programs and services to those in need and the unemployed.

Through those programs, the society also provides a spin-off economic benefit to the community from supports paid out for program participants, such as B. C. Benefits Program. Kathy Bedard, executive director of the society, said that in the months of May through October of 2007, participants spent nearly $64,000 in the community by way of bus tickets, work clothing, hair cuts and training.

“The program is an economic generator of large proportions,” said Bedard. “As well as assisting participants gain knowledge, training, certification and employment.”

The HSEDS has an annual payroll of $320,000 and an average annual budget of just under $1 million through projects such as job creation, training, self employment benefits, Job Wave and IMMPower.

“In 2007, we have assisted 37 small businesses start up throughout the North Coast and Queen Charlotte Islands, which aside from the individual business sales, brought almost $700,000 in economic spending to the region,” said Bedard.

An added testament to the success, the Training Centre has had 350 people register for short certification seminars and workshops, providing residents with the professional skills and upgrading courses they need to excel in the workforce. As a not-for-profit organization for more than a decade, the HSEDS has delivered employment and training to improve the quality of life for all residents, and plans to continue on that path for many years to come.

“The society is going to look at the gaps in service, and building on partnerships with other service agencies,” said Bedard. “Partnerships are the way this community operates, and we feel community based service providers are a real value to the residents of Prince Rupert and the region.

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